Privacy considerations are key during a possible separation or divorce situation, especially if you end up in court. Often the “leading” spouse will begin the divorce planning process well in advance of the “lagging” spouse. By the time the “lagging” spouse knows his/her spouse wants a divorce, his/her spouse may have taken many of the divorce privacy considerations we talk about in this article.
To be clear, we do not advocate that you be the “leading” or the “lagging” spouse. We simply know that both exist. What we do advocate, though, is that all parties act reasonably while also protecting their rights. And if your divorce is amicable, many of the divorce privacy considerations we talk about here can be negotiated between the two of you. However, we also know that is not always possible. Or it may be that you don’t know right now, this moment as you are reading this, if “amicable” will be possible.
While we are not saying you should take any of the measures below, we are saying that many separating or divorcing spouses consider them and base their decisions about them on their own unique circumstances. Always check with your attorney to see if you should take any of the steps listed below. NOTE: This is NOT legal advice! This is an informational article only about considerations on privacy during divorce!
While more and more couples are (thankfully) seeking a “gentler” divorce for themselves and their families, the privacy concerns listed below can still be very important. And some couples, regardless of best intentions, will end up in a really ugly court battle.
Soooo…..here are some of the things you can consider if you are heading into a possible separation or divorce situation. We expect to continue to update this list, so check back from time to time.
PRIVACY CONSIDERATIONS DURING SEPARATION OR DIVORCE
- Access to information –
- Be mindful that today everyone routinely accesses information online, through email, txt, social media and US mail, AND that pictures are taken everywhere and easily posted to various internet channels. Be careful.
- Bank accounts –
- Do you have a bank account that your spouse does not have access to? Do you need one?
- Do you need someone to be a join account owner with you? If you choose to take this step, the joint account owner needs to be someone you trust, maybe a family member or very trusted friend who knows you are considering separation or divorce. Be careful here, always.
- How are your other bank accounts currently titled? Always good info to have. Consider updating your asset inventory and including this information.
- Business owned by one party –
- Is there a small business owned by you (or your spouse) that your spouse (or you) don’t have access to? Lots of things can happen during divorce when one party owns a small business. Simply something to be mindful of. If you are concerned, check with your attorney, CPA, tax advisor, etc., to see if/how you can/should protect yourself.
- Cell phone phones and contracts –
- Do you have a cell phone that your spouse does not have access to? Do you need one?
- Do you have a joint cell phone contract?
- Does your spouse have legal access to your txt messages and phone contacts/phone calls through your contract?
- Computer or tablet –
- Do you have a computer or tablet that your spouse does not have access to? Do you need one?
- Is it password protected? Do you change the password often?
- Credit cards –
- Do you have a credit card that your spouse does not have access to? Do you need one?
- Are your other credit cards joint? Do you have a list of them in your asset inventory?
- Email accounts –
- Do you have an account that your spouse does not have access to? Do you need one?
- Note that many email accounts are connected these days by phone number or another email address. Be careful.
- For general safety reasons, everyone should change passwords frequently.
- Many articles recommend that, regardless of what situation you are in, people need more than 1 email address today. Most people have a “throw away” email. Do you? Do you need one?
- Paypal Account –
- Do you have a Paypal account that your spouse does not have access to? Do you need one?
- How will you initially “fund” the account if you choose to establish one? What bank account will you link it to?
- Pre-paid debit cards, purchased at grocery stores, etc., as “gift cards”
- Do you have one? Do you need one?
- Several articles talk about how anonymous they really are. It depends.
- Several articles report they can successfully be used to:
- Fund a Paypal account
- Pay for services directly
- Some appear to require activation and some do not
- If activation is required, make sure the address or zip code you use to activate matches the address or zip code you use to purchases services online
- Because they are more “like cash” you may not have consumer protection services that you typically will have with a credit card (so, more in line with a debit card that often does not have the consumer protection services with it)
- Postal mail
- Do you need a new, solely yours P.O. Box?
- Safe deposit box –
- Is yours joint? Do you need one that is solely yours?
Additional considerations. Hopefully this list has made you think about your own unique situation. What else do you need to consider that is not covered here? Let us know at info@EverChangingRiver.com if you have any comments about this article and suggestions for improving it!
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